Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the world’s premiere trade event for computer and video games, has suffered from a data breach that exposed personal data of over 2,000 journalists and analysts.
According to a report from Kotaku, the company has accidentally leaked a spreadsheet containing the names, contact information, publications, and personal addresses of about 2,025 journalists, content creators, and video producers who have attended the event this year.
The leak was pointed out on YouTube by a journalist named Sophia Narwitz, who said the spreadsheet was accessible on E3’s official website via the link titled ‘Registered Media List.’
“Before even considering making this story public, I contacted the ESA via phone within 30 minutes of having this information,” said Narwitz in her video. “Worried that might not be enough, I also shot off an email not too long after. On top of that, I reached out to a number of journalists to make them aware of this.”
The Entertainment Software Association, the organization behind the event, responded by removing the file in the website and sending email notifications to the affected reporters.
“We provide ESA members and exhibitors with a media list on a password-protected exhibitor site so they can invite you to E3 press events, connect with you for interviews, and let you know what they are showcasing,” the email wrote. “For more than 20 years there has never been an issue.”
However, despite the effort of ESA, the information continued to be disseminated in different online gaming forums. In fact, for some time, even after the link has been removed, visitors were still able to access the spreadsheet via the Google cached version of the page, Kotaku reported.
In an interview with Venture Beat, ESA’s spokesperson provided the following statement:
“ESA was made aware of a website vulnerability that led to the contact list of registered journalists attending E3 being made public. Once notified, we immediately took steps to protect that data and shut down the site, which is no longer available. We regret this occurrence and have put measures in place to ensure it will not occur again.”
The recent leak is not the first to occur under ESA’s radar. In an article published by GamesIndustry.biz, it was discovered that details of journalists who attended E3 for the two previous years have also been publicly available on the site until Monday, August 5.
“While both these events were so long ago the details are likely out of date, the fact they were publicly available until earlier today raises concerns,” the article noted.